Week-by-week guide to pregnancy
Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From early pregnancy symptoms to how your baby is growing and developing, you'll find it all here.
Week 6 – your 1st trimester
What's happening in my body?
Your baby is growing and changing at a fast pace as they start to grow arms, legs and ears. The liver, brain and musculoskeletal system are also developing. To achieve this transformation, the baby gets everything they need from you.
Morning sickness can occur at any time of day, although it's usually worse when you first wake up. It might help to keep a snack by your bed.
Try eating 6 small meals a day, get lots of rest, and follow a balanced, healthy diet with lots of water. Read these tips on healthy eating.
Some people find that ginger helps (such as ginger tea, ginger ale, crystallised ginger, and ginger biscuits). Others say sucking ice cubes and wearing travel acupressure wristbands helps.
If you can't keep food down, talk to your midwife or doctor.
Early pregnancy symptoms (at 6 weeks)
You may be dealing with morning sickness and tiredness, along with other early signs of pregnancy. Your symptoms could also include:
- a metallic taste in your mouth
- sore breasts
- mood swings (read about mood swings in week 8)
- new food likes and dislikes
- a heightened sense of smell
- you may need to pee more frequently
- a white milky pregnancy discharge from your vagina
- light spotting (see your doctor if you get bleeding in pregnancy)
- cramping, a bit like period pains
- darkened skin on your face or brown patches - this is known as chloasma or the "mask of pregnancy"
- thicker and shinier hair
- feeling bloated
A lot of people start to feel better after the 1st trimester (after 12 weeks). Talk to your midwife or doctor about anything that's worrying you.
What does my baby look like?
Your baby, or embryo, is around 6mm long, which is about the size and shape of a baked bean. Some people think it resembles a tadpole with its little tail.
There's a bump where the heart is and another bulge where the head will be. Sometimes the heart beat can be picked up by a vaginal ultrasound scan, but you are unlikely to be offered one unless you've had IVF. The arms and legs are starting to form and are known as limb buds. There are tiny dents where the ears will be. The embryo is covered with a thin layer of transparent skin.
The advice for week 6 is the same as for the earlier weeks. Try to rest as much as possible.
This week you could:
Share the news with your GP, or ask for an appointment with a midwife at your doctors' surgery. Alternatively you can refer yourself to your local hospital – look for contact details on their website.
You'll need to arrange a booking appointment. This usually takes place between weeks 8 and 12 and takes around an hour. You can talk about the options for your pregnancy and the birth. You will also be offered screening tests for infectious diseases, and conditions such as Down's syndrome. You could ask about the Maternity Transformation Programme and how it could benefit you.
You will be offered your first dating scan at 8 to 14 weeks.
If it's your first pregnancy, you will probably have around 10 appointments and 2 scans in total.
Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.
Antenatal classes will give you the chance to meet other people and prepare you for parenthood. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.
Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the tea, coffee and anything else with caffeine. Ask your midwife or GP for support if you need it.
Take prenatal vitamins. You're advised to take 400 micrograms of folic acid, every day, until at least week 12. This helps your baby's nervous system to form and offers some protection from conditions such as spina bifida.
To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D. From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin. However, between October and early March, consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.
Some people should take a vitamin D supplement all year round, find out if this applies to you on the NHS website. You just need 10 micrograms (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). Check if you're entitled to free vitamins.
Do you think you or your partner could have a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? If so, get it checked out, as this could affect your baby's development. Talk to your midwife or GP, or visit a sexual health clinic.
It's recommended that you do 150 minutes of exercise a week while pregnant. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
There's no need to eat for 2. If you pile on the pounds, you could put you and your baby at risk of health problems such as high blood pressure. Eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.
If you have a long-term health condition, then let your specialist or GP know that you're pregnant as soon as possible. Don't stop taking any regular medication without discussing it first with your doctor.
How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't keep it to yourself. It's important that you ask for help if you need it.